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PNS Daily Newscast - September 30, 2020 

Trump and Biden square off in a debate marked by interruptions; COVID-19 highlights neglect of undocumented residents.

2020Talks - September 30, 2020 

Last night was filled with interruptions at the first presidential debate between Donald Trump and Joe Biden.

Governor Would Cut Benefits to Half Million-Plus Blind and Elderly New Yorkers

January 7, 2009

Albany, NY — Governor David Paterson delivers his State of the State message today and critics charge the governor will try to solve the state's budget problems at the expense of impoverished seniors and people with disabilities. They say the cuts won't come close to solving the budget mess, but will leave hundreds of thousands in desperate straights.

Linda Ostreicher, director of public policy at the Center for Independence of the Disabled (CIDNY), says the proposal to cut $84 million from Supplemental Security Income (SSI) is a drop in the bucket compared to the state's massive $16-billion dollar deficit. She says SSI is only for people who can't work, so they have no employment option to help cushion the blow.

"About a quarter of them are elderly, the rest of them are under 65, but they are either blind or disabled, and they are also very poor."

Paterson says the state has to spend more effectively and streamline state government to deal with the state's record budget deficit.

The average cut to New Yorkers on SSI would be about $25 a month. That may not sound like much, says Ostricher, until you consider how little those folks get to make ends meet.

"If you are living on $760 a month — that's enough of a difference to make you fall behind on your rent, to run out of food at the end of the month. They live on so little money, it's lower than the federal poverty level."

Ostriecher says the proposed cut would take effect mid-year.

Michael Clifford/Mike Clifford, Public News Service - NY